City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

The City of Terrace is considering some changes to regulations for food trucks.

Food trucks are allowed to park in public spaces such as curbside parking spots, but they are only allowed to stay four hours. An eight-hour limit is in place for food trucks parked on private property. The time limits were initially established to ensure fairness between food trucks and restaurants, because food trucks don’t have to pay property taxes or provide amenities such as bathrooms, according to David Block, director of development services.

“The food vendors obviously like to be able to operate as long as they can, anywhere they want,” he said. “But there was a balance there with fixed-seat restaurants who have different overhead.”

City staff recently recommended increasing the curbside time limit to six hours, as part of a package of proposed amendments to the City’s business licence bylaw, presented at a city council meeting May 25.

The City received feedback from food truck operators who use cooking oil that four hours is not enough time to safely operate, city planner Tara Irwin told council.

“What we were hearing from the mobile food vendors is four hours is simply not enough time to set up, when cooking oil is being used, bring the oil up to temperature and then allow for cool down,” she said.

Irwin also said the City received feedback from food truck operators that the four-hour time limit made it difficult to comply with some of Northern Health’s safety requirements for food trucks, but she did not specify which requirements.

City staff also recommended regulating the amount of noise from generators food trucks are allowed to emit.

But council opted to separate the food truck items from the rest of the proposed changes to the business licence bylaw (which included provisions for ride-hailing and small “housekeeping” changes to the bylaw) at the request of councillor Sean Bujtas, who noted that food truck regulations had been controversial when first introduced.

“I think we had a lot of restaurant owners upset with the stuff that we did with the bylaws [initially],” Bujtas said at the May 25 meeting. “If we’re going to change the hours of food truck vendors it should be pulled out and done all completely on its own.”

Block said city staff are now researching and revising the proposed changes for food trucks, partially to include more information about generator noise and Northern Health safety requirements. The changes will be presented again in council chambers soon.

“That’s going to move forward and come back with a bit more detail and a bit more information in the coming weeks,” he said.

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